Public buses as a concept are good for the environment because they help reduce the number of cars on the road, helping to reduce carbon emissions. However, when mass transit buses are electrified, they become even more environmentally friendly.
Running a fleet of battery-powered buses smoothly means the operator has to implement a charging solution. How does this work, and what does the operator have to consider when implementing an electric bus fleet charging solution. Find out by reading the rest of this article.
Electric public buses around the world
Battery-powered buses are making in-roads into urban mass transit systems worldwide. For example, the city of London plans to deploy electrified versions of the iconic red double-decker buses. Similarly, Moscow is on its path to deploying its 1000th electric bus.
China, however, continues to set the pace in battery-powered public buses, with about 400,000 units currently in operation.
How are electric public buses charged?
Most charging of electric public buses takes place at the depot, usually with a plug-in system. However, other methods include induction or a pantograph.
The charging is usually scheduled for the night or during times in the day when the buses are idle for extended periods. Bus operators can use fleet charging management software to optimize time and power by scheduling the charging sessions efficiently.
Depot charging is supplemented by interval charging. This happens when the buses are charged in transit. For example, an electric bus can charge at bus stops using inductive charging while waiting to pick up riders. This method of charging is ideal for longer routes. However, the disadvantage is that the buses may only spend a short time at a spot before getting back on the road. It is also expensive because it requires significant electrical infrastructure.
To maximize charging, fleet operators rely on DC rapid chargers. This is because the large battery packs have to accept as much power as possible. Manufacturers include battery management software to lessen the effect of rapid charging on the battery.
Electric public charging costs
When fleet operators calculate their charging costs, they consider three main components. The first is the energy cost, which is the kWh accrued by the operation. The cost may vary based on peak periods. This is why fleets are usually charged overnight. The second component is the grid usage fee, which is based on the network charges, while the third component is load management, which seeks to reduce charging costs through dynamic load management.
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